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Felix Semon, C. V. O., Physician Extraordinary to His Majesty, the King, London ; Dr. J. Solis-Cohen, Jefferson Medical College.
Section 1. Pediatrics.-Chairman, Prof. Thomas M. Rotch, Harvard University; speakers, Prof. Theodore Escherich, University of Vienna ; Prof. Abraham Jacobi, Columbia University.
COLLEGE AND HOSPITAL NOTES.
The Mercy Hospital, situated on Tifft street, Buffalo, was opened for the reception of patients the latter part of August. This building was formerly the home of William J. Connors and several changes have been made to make it conform to the needs of such an institution. About fifty patients can be accommodated and additional buildings will be put up as circumstances inay require. The location is one of the best for hospital purposes, having ample grounds in an open region away from the crowded streets and avenues of the city.
On the first floor of the building are four wards, opening ofi the main hall, and opposite are the office, pharmacy, three private rooms and an operating room. A diet kitchen and lavatory complete the hospital suite of this floor.
Ten private rooms, with dict kitchen, dumb-waiter and lavatory, are on the second floor, and on the third are the sisters' apartments and the chapel. The two first floors open on to wide verandas, making a pleasant resting place for convalescent patients.
In the rear of the hospital a building is to be erected which will contain a dining-room and kitchen, so that no odor of cooking will reach the patients. The building will be lighted both by electricity and gas, and will be heated by steam. Vany of the private rooms and all the wards have open grates, which will be pleasant on early autumn evenings, and will at the same time serve as excellent ventilators.
The hospital grounds have a frontage of 200 reet, and although the building will be of sufficient size to begin the hospital work of the Sisters of Mercy, they intend to enlarge it by additional buildings as already stated. The entire cost of ground, building and repairs has amounted to about $14,000. Excepting the hospital at the Steel Plant, conducted by the company, there is none nearer than the Emergency.
The medical department of the University of Buffalo will begin its fifty-ninth annual session Monday, September 26, 1904, to con
tinue thirty weeks. The advance registration indicates a large attendance and the college was never in better condition to render adequate instruction than at the present time.
Some changes in the governing faculty have taken place since the last announcement. Professor John Parmenter has resigned the chair of anatomy and the secretaryship of the faculty, retaining, however, the professorship of clinical surgery, his name being placed at the head of the associate faculty. Professor Herbert L. Williams has been promoted from the associate to the governing faculty and retains the title of professor of pathology and bacteriology and curator of the museum. Professor Herbert 1. Hill has been appointed secretary of the faculty, at the same time retaining his chair as professor of chemistry, toxicology and physics. The college is prepared to give a four years' graded course with superb laboratory and clinical instruction.
Dr. John PUNTON, superintendent of the Punton Sanitarium, located at Kansas City, Mo., announces that in response to an increased demand for accommodations by patients he is building a large addition to the institution over which he presides, and otherwise improving it with a view to making it one of the best of its kind in the country.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN MEDICO-PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION at the
fifty-ninth annual meeting held at Washington, D. C., Vlay 12-15, 1903. C. B. Burr, M. D., Secretary. Published by the Association. 1903.
Since the association whose annual volume of transactions is now being considered is at once the oldest and largest of the special medical societies, it is only reasonable to expect that it should contain a large mass of excellent material. Among such a group of interesting papers it is impossible to review adequately any one, much less all, but Stephen Smith presented one that will attract attention not less from the historical value it possesses, than the scientific interest it generates. The summary of Dr. Smith's paper we present below does imperfect justice to the original, which should be read to be appreciated.
The trial of William Freeman, a negro, for the murder of the lan less family near Auburn, was a cause célèbre in the administration of criminal justice in the middle of the last century. The crime was committed March 12, 1816, when, without notice or apparent motive Freeman, lately discharged from state's prison, killed John G. Van Ness, Mrs. Van Ness, an infant, Mrs. Van Ness's mother, and as then believed mortally wounded a laboring inan who dwelt in the house,-a maid servant only escaping. The murderer was arrested, confessed the deed, but showed no signs of regret; indeed, he laughed during the recital of the incidents of the murder, betraying unmistakable signs of mental aberration.
The excitement was intense; the people revolted against the probable plea of insanity that might be made to secure acquittal of the prisoner, causing the sheriff to adopt vigorous means to protect him from the vengeance of the crowds at the jail, threatening to lynch the criminal. Hon. William H. Seward, who had already served two terms as governor and was destined to a larger fame, volunteered to defend Freeman, after becoming convinced from a careful study of the case that he was hopelessly demented.
Governor Seward had but lately secured the acquittal of a prisoner charged with murder, on the plea of insanity, and this only served to increase the feeling against a possible similar result in the present case, making the self-imposed task of Mr. Seward all the more difficult.
When the case was brought to trial the district attorney of Cayuga County, realising Mr. Seward's powerful influence and great ability, invoked the aid of the Attorney-General, Hon. John Van Buren, in conducting the prosecution. lIr. Van Buren, son of former president Martin Van Buren, was at the height of his popularity both as a lawyer and politician. He was familiarly known as “Prince John," and was a forensic and campaign orator of force and skill. The court-room was crowded to the doors and the two eminent counsel added interest to the proceedings, which had become almost dramatic in character.
The theory of the defense, as may be presumed, was insanity, a plea that at the period of this trial had not reached the stage of abuse. Dr. Amariah Brigham, superintendent of the asylum for the insane at Utica, then the most famous alienist in America, was summoned for the prisoner. He had seen the prisoner once before the trial and unqualifiedly pronounced him mentally irresponsible. The application of counsel for the defense to permit Dr. Brigham to further examine and study the prisoner's condition was denied, a circumstance that served to accentuate the strained conditions that were arising. Dr. Brigham's testimony being regarded as the determining evidence, all eyes turned to him as he entered the witness box. He is described as a tall, spare man, with smooth, expressionless face, piercing eyes, and with a mien and bearing indicating intellectual superiority, with perfect selfcontrol. He described, in response to Mr. Seward's questions, the symptoms of dementia at length, and gave with great clearness his reasons for determining that this special form of insanity afflicted the defendant. In the course of the direct examination he
astonished the court and spectators by asseverating that he could diagnosticate insanity at sight, having often determined, he said, its absence when feigned, by simple observation without asking a question.
Attorney-General Van Buren, an adroit cross examiner, now took possession of the witness and addressed himself to the destruction of the splendid line of mental fortifications set up by Dr. Brigham, seeking by quibble and stratagem to neutralise the effect of the testimony he had given. Literature, science, history and philosophy, one and all, were invoked by turns to aid in the possible discovery of some weak point where a breach might be made in the armature of the witness, but in vain ; on the other hand the learned counsel was frequently hoist with his own petard, so ready was Dr. Brigham in parrying his thrusts, often to the discomforture of the great lawyer. We cannot illustrate this phase of the trial better than to quote from the record :
"Is suicide contagious?" asked the counsel.
"I think it was in the French army until Napoleon put a stop to it," the witness replied. It is stated that a titter ran through the audience and the Attorney-General renewed the charge.
"Is hysterics contagious ?” he asked.
"Suppose, doctor," said the counsel, with a sneer, “that I should go out and steal a hundred dollars and then come in again and sit down here, would you swear I was insane?".
"I think I should,” calmly replied the doctor.
The examination soon, however, assumed a more professional character, and Mr. Van Buren began to search into the details of the methods by which the witness proposed to diagnosticate insanity at sight. In answer to a question Dr. Brigham stated that he relied largely upon the features of a patient, which he studied closely.
"Which feature do you rely on in your diagnosis?” queried the “I rely on no one feature, but study them as a group," was the an
"Do you rely on the chin," he was asked. "No," he said. “Do you you rely on the nose?” was the next question. "No," he said, “Do you rely on the ear?" the counsel persisted. "No," said the witness. “Do you rely on the cheek?" was the next tantalising question. "No," was the answer. “Do you rely on the mouth?” the counsel continued. “Very much," said the doctor. “Do you rely on the eyes?" was the next quesTion. “Still more than on the mouth,” the witness answered. "If, then, this prisoner were concealed all but his mouth or his eyes, you affirm that you could decide accurately whether or not he is insane?" queried Mr. Van Buren. “No, I do not state that; I must see all of the features at once," the witness urged. For a considerable time the astute AttorneyGeneral dwelt on the features of different persons, endeavoring by his wit and sarcasm to throw the utmost ridicule upon the witness's method of detecting insanity at sight. With passive countenance and in the most quiet, self-possessed manner the witness answered all the questions, exhibiting not the slightest irritation at the gibes and jeers of the wily and Witty counsel, as he held up to ridicule before the jury Doctor Brigham's new method of diagnosing insanity.
It is needless to say that by this time the interest of all concerned in the trial-court, jury, counsel, -as well as the great audience had reached a high pitch of nervous tension that was painful to endure and difficult to repress. The climax finally came however, when the Attorney-General, with impetuous heat and startling emphasis, demanded of the witness : “What! do you affirm that you can diagnosticate insanity at sight?” “I do," was the firm and dignified reply. Striding toward the witness, with thumbs thrust into the arm-holes of his waistcoat (a fashion much in vogue in those days) the great lawyer, turning toward the jury and spectators with a grandiose air commanded the learned doctor to “Point out to the court and jury an insane person in the audience.” Now came the critical test of the competency of the witness, and he accepted the challenge without hesitation, confident in his ability to triumph.
Thus far we have given an abstract of Dr. Smith's graphic account, with the exception of two or three paragraphs quoted in full. Now, we prefer to let the distinguished narrator, who was present, describe the scene that followed in his own words:
A breathless silence fell upon the court room. The venerable judge raised his glasses to his forehead and surveyed the excited mass of people about to undergo the ordeal of an examination as to their sanity. The large number of legal gentlemen within the bar arose to their feet and gazed at the crowded hall and passageways with intense curiosity. The spectators were simply awe-stricken when they realised that the crucial test was to be applied to them, and, being one of the number, I still feel the thrill of horror I experienced.
Doctor Brigham arose from his chair very deliberately and stood .for a moment surveying the people, as if to determine where to begin his scrutiny. He was as white and emotionless as a marble statue. Turning slowly to the left or first tier of seats he began a deliberate survey of the spectators, scanning the features of each one with the apparent confidence that he could detect the faintest traces of insanity. As his keen, searchiing eyes glanced from tier to tier of seats the suspense was simply unendurable. He had reached the middle aisle and yet no one had been pointed out as insane. Five hundred faces had been scrutinized and no group of individual features' had responded to the test. That portion of the audience at least breathed more freely. An incredulous smile began to play about the mouth and light up the mobile features of the Attorney-General while a greater earnestness of manner and intensity of scrutiny were apparent in the witness. Deep furrow's appeared on his pallid face, and his eyes assumed a piercing brilliancy which made every one shrink on whom his gaze was momentarily fixed. I felt myself transfixed when I realised that my face was focalised on his vision, and I experienced a sense of the greatest relief when I saw that I had safely passed the trying ordeal. A sigh of relief followed along the rows of seats as the glance of the great expert swept over them. The area of faces still to be examined was now rapidly diminishing, and but one-fourth of the audience remained to be scanned. It was apparent that thus far either there was no insane person in the crowd, or if there was, the witness had failed to detect such person, and hence had failed to answer the practical test to which he had been challenged by the prosecution and which he had accepted without protest.
Suddenly the wandering eyes of the expert became fixed; his features relaxed and assumed their customary impassiveness, and it was evident that he had discovered the object of his search. Stretching out his long arm and